Four tents in St. Peter's Square, Manchester with support messages for a ceasefire chalked on the wall.

Tent protest for Gaza ceasefire in Manchester

  • Tent protest in St. Peter’s square Manchester calling for Gaza ceasefire
  • Follows protest in honour of children of Gaza, Saturday 23rd March
  • UK backs UN ceasefire proposal

A protest has started in Manchester with people camping out to call for a ceasefire in Gaza.

Four tents in St. Peter's Square, Manchester with support messages for a ceasefire chalked on the wall.
Tents are stationed in St. Peter’s square, Manchester. Messages such as ‘homeless not heartless’ and ‘free Gaza’ chalked on the walls to protest for a ceasefire. Image: Becky Mills

The week-long protest began on the 23rd of March with protesters camping out until the 30th of March.

Protester stationed tents and sleeping bags directly outside Manchester town hall to call for a ceasefire.

Protestor Emma Leyla on X sharing images of the protest

They have chalked messages of support on the walls of Manchester town hall reading ‘homeless not heartless’ and ‘free Gaza’.

“We don’t agree with what’s going on in Palestine, the aggression and violence that’s been seen over the last six to twelve months is unprecedented.”

Emma Leyla, protest organiser

Protest organizer Emma Leyla said: “We have massive issues around the UK from homelessness to knife crime. On top of there is what’s going on in Gaza.

“When people walk past and see the tents we wanted people to know our message. My friend suggested ‘homeless not heartless’.

“We love the homeless people of Manchester and we can’t believe the way their treated and we want the council to have a duty of care.

“13 people have been housed since our protest began so why couldn’t this have been done before?”

The UK response to a ceasefire

On the 22nd of March 2024 the UK voted yes to an immediate and sustained ceasefire in Gaza to protect civilians, allow humanitarian aid and alleviate suffering proposed by the United Nations (UN).

UK UN representative, Barbara Woodward announcing UK support of UN ceasefire proposal – Credit: UN

The statement from the UK UN representative Barbara Woodward stated the critical need for a ceasefire to allow aid to arrive via land, sea and air. Woodward said: “an immediate stop in the fighting is the only way to get the aid into Gaza that is so desperately needed and make progress towards a permanent, sustainable ceasefire.”

The UN proposal has been rejected by Hamas stating Israel were ignoring it’s demands for a ceasefire with Israel stating the proposal has “damaged” ceasefire talks.

Conflict in Gaza continues

The war in Gaza began in October of 2023 when Hamas gunmen stormed the Israeli border killing over 1,000 people and taking 250 hostages back to Gaza.

In the five months since the war began bombing campaigns have been frequent in Gaza with 32,000 Palestinians being killed since the Israeli strikes began according to local health officials and have driven a third of the population to the brink of starvation.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sent a team of Israeli officials to meet with US President Joe Biden to discuss a prospective operation in the southern city of Rafah, currently sheltering 1.5 million displaced Palestinians.

Protests in Manchester continue

There have been multiple protests taking place in Manchester with the tent protest following the protest in honour of the children of Gaza that took place on the 23rd of March.

A child holds a heart shaped poster reading 13,000 children killed by Israel, calling for a ceasefire.
A child takes part in the Honour the Children of Gaza demonstration in St. Peter’s Square, Manchester. Picture date: Saturday March 23, 2024. PA Photo. Photo credit should read: Danny Lawson/PA Wire

Emma said: “We’re going to be doing more protests and other action in the future in the centre of Manchester.

“We’re going to show the government we won’t be silent, we feel deeply about our communities and they come first.”